Newham marks scaled back Remembrance Sunday
- Credit: © 2020 Andrew Baker
The borough has marked a scaled back Remembrance Sunday due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dignitaries laid poppy wreaths before the Cenotaph in Central Park, East Ham, to commemorate the fallen on Sunday, November 8.
The event was in stark contrast to previous years where crowds filled the area around the monument after marching from East Ham Town Hall.
The lockdown restrictions meant this year’s Remembrance Sunday event was attended by a smaller group, including mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz, East Ham MP Stephen Timms and representatives from the Armed Forces and Royal British Legion.
The wreath laying and two minute silence were, however, streamed live on the internet.
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Ms Fiaz said: “Sadly this year the devastating Covid-19 pandemic has meant we have not been able to gather to commemorate this event in our usual way together.
“However, I am honoured and privileged to be representing Newham at this service of remembrance and welcome all of you who have joined to share this important and special occasion.”
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She observed this year has been “particularly difficult” with many people experiencing loss because of the virus.
“I stand here reflecting on the devastating toll Covid-19 has taken on our communities with 322 residents now having tragically passed away.
“But, I take immense pride at the resilience, support and generosity so many of you have shown to help each other to get through these difficult times.
“The importance and significance of Remembrance Sunday is stronger today than it has ever been.”
The dignitaries assembled to honour all who gave their lives for the country and everyone who has stood up to protect democratic values and freedoms.
Ms Fiaz said: “We pay thanks to the immense contribution of the families of Armed Forces personnel and our emergency services in keeping us safe – and we pause to remember innocent civilians who have lost their lives in conflict and acts of terrorism.
“At this time of huge challenge and adversity, this Remembrance Sunday is more important than ever. We will remember them.”
Wreaths were laid by the Queen’s representative lieutenant for Newham, John Barber; Bob Spencer, chairman of the East Ham and District Branch of the Royal British Legion; Captain Lee Flitcroft (7 Rifles (G Company)) as well as Alan White and Gary Matthews, who lay wreaths on behalf of the RAF and Navy respectively.